Interesting Facts about Australia

Here are some interesting facts about Australia.

Some of them may be obvious for Australians, but not so obvious for people in the Northern Hemisphere.

Sydney, Australia
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Interesting Facts about Australia

* Australia's land area is 7,692,024 square kilometres

* It is the only country in the world that covers a whole continent (note there are island nations such as New Zealand, Great Britain, etc, however Australia is not an island, it is a continent).

* It is the sixth largest country in the world, after Russia, Canada, China, United States and Brazil.

* However, population wise it is as far back on the list as number 52, way behind many much smaller countries such as Germany, France and United Kingdom.

* We do have large heavily populated cities, but that is also where most of the population is. A lot of the rest is uninhabited, or very little inhabited outback. The population density is the lowest in the world - two people per km2 only.

* It is also the world's flattest continent with the highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, only 2,228 metres high, and the only mountainous area being the east coast.

* It is also the world's driest continent, even though the eastern half of it is way wetter than the western half, and in the east we do get floods.

* Australia's soils are very poor - only 6% of the country's surface is suitable for agriculture

* Being such a large country, its climate varies from the wet tropics in the north, to the dry deserts in the middle, and cold snowy mountains in the south

* Politically the country is divided to six states (Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia, Western Australia) and two territories (Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory).

* On top of that, Australia also administers Norfolk Island, McDonald Islands, Heard Island, Coral Sea Islands, Cocos Islands, Christmas Island, Cartier and Ashmore Islands, plus Jervis Bay Territory, and the Australian Antarctic Territory
Australian Flag and Sydney Harbor Bridge at Dusk, Sydney, Australia
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More Interesting Facts about Australia

* Yes, we do drive on the left hand side of the road.

* Yes, the sun is shining from north in the middle of the day.

* Yes, the water does go down the sink in the opposite direction from the Northern Hemisphere.

* No, we don't have to watch our every step for snakes and spiders. Australian poisonous snakes and spiders are shy animals - they don't attack you unless you scare them.

* Yes, there are deadly jellyfish during the summer months in nothern Australia. You can swim in stinger nets during these months. There are other dangers such as rip currents etc so always swim between the yellow-red flags - these stretches of the beach are watched by life guards.

* Yes, the deadly crocodiles that we have in northern Australia are the world's largest crocodiles and very quick killers.

* Shark attacks are rare enough that they always make big news. However, out of all Australian dangerous animals, sharks are currently the most frequent killers.

* No, Australia is not the world's largest island, it's the world's smallest continent. Why? Because it has got a continental climate which makes it a continent. New Zealand and Great Britain on the other hand haven't got a continental climate and are island nations. The world's largest island is Greenland according to all proper scientific references. There is no such thing as an 'island continent' - a land mass cannot be an island and a continent at the same time.

* Where does Australia get its name from? From the latin term for 'southern land' - terra australis.

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